The Enchanted April
by Elizabeth von Arnim, introduction by Cathleen Schine
A recipe for happiness: four women, one medieval Italian castle, plenty of wisteria, and solitude as needed.
The women at the center of Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April are alike only in their dissatisfaction with their everyday lives. They find each other—and the castle of their dreams—through a classified ad in a London newspaper one rainy February afternoon. The ladies expect a pleasant holiday, but they don’t anticipate that the month they spend in Portofino will reintroduce them to their true natures and reacquaint them with joy. Now, if the same transformation can be worked on their husbands and lovers, the enchantment will be complete.
The Enchanted April was a best-seller in both England and the United States, where it was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and set off a craze for tourism to Portofino. More recently, the novel has been the inspiration for a major film and a Broadway play.by Elizabeth von Arnim, introduction by Cathleen Schine
A restful, funny, sumptuous, and invigorating vacation for the mind and soul.
— 500 Great Books By Women
A particular kind of witty and well-constructed fiction, a sort of sparkling Euclid, which nobody else can touch.
— Rebecca West
The Enchanted April sounds as if it would be an appallingly cloying cream puff of a fairy tale, but that would be to ignore that the author habitually kept a pot of lemon juice mixed with vinegar beside her ink-pot. With this bracing element there is additionally what can only be called a feast of flowers, hanging from every wall and pouring scent over the company.
— Times Literary Supplement
A pleasant...little story, with some neat phrasing and a genuine feeling for color and for beauty.
— The New York Times